To My Firstborn: The weight of expectation on your shoulders

To my firstborn,

You are the one who made me a mother.

The one who has borne the brunt of the mistakes I have made as we fumbled through this journey together.  You are the one who has, and will continue to, hit every stage first.  We have had to learn together what works, what doesn’t, what boundaries are to be set and pushed.

And whilst we wade through the plethora of firsts coming our way, paving the way for your younger brother to have an easy ride of it, I have come to the realisation that in you I am not only cutting my teeth as the mother of a (nearly) six year old, but I am weighing you down with expectation.

Becoming a big brother at the tender age of two and a half, younger than “the baby” is now, has meant that I’ve expected you to grow up overnight.

Next to a tiny newborn you looked like the incredible hulk.  And not much has changed since then.  You will forever be the big brother.

The eldest.

The one who should know better.  Who is the grown up one.

It is upon your little shoulders I heap the responsibility.  Those small, five year old shoulders that take the weight.

And most of the time you rise beautifully to it.  You lift up the weight so strong and thrive.  You are the grown up, setting the example, leading the way.  Making my heart swell with pride.

And then there are times you are just a normal child.  A normal five year old boy who is tired and grumpy.  One who has had enough, and doesn’t want to feel the weight of expectation.  Who is tired of what must seem like his brother getting away with murder whilst he doesn’t.

So you act up.

You act out.

In a blink of an eye you are a testosterone filled terror.

NO you don’t want to be a big boy.  NO you don’t want to help.  You don’t want to do anymore.

You want to scream, shout and be tired.

And I need to remember that it’s OK that you do that.

To hold you close and cuddle you as you’re fed up with everything.  To whisper words of love in your ear and bring the smile back to your face.

I need to remember that you are only five.  And five is still little.  You are still little.  And so I will remember.

I shall remember when I am frustrated that you call out for me instead of going to sleep.  I will remember when you shout at your little brother.  And I shall remember when your listening ears seem to be set to permanent stop mode.

Through all of the challenging moments I will remember.

And above all I will  remember that you are still my baby – and you’ll always be my baby.

All my love,


x x x



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